By Ben Rosario
Citing the urgency of addressing the worsening effects of climate change in the country, the chairman of the House Special Committee on Climate Change has declared that it has become imperative for Congress to exercise its oversight function over the implementation of climate change laws.
During a recent committee meeting, Bohol Rep. Edgar Chatto aired this legislative move as the Climate Change Commission warned that extreme weather conditions and temperatures are being anticipated ‘by the end of the century.”
Chatto said the implementation of by the Climate Change Commission of its climate change adaptation and mitigation program will have to be re-examined to determine whether new laws must be passed to help ensure that the country will be able to dodge or slow down the disastrous effects of climate change.
Chatto underscored the urgency of exercising legislative oversight over various programs and laws aimed at addressing climate change as experts warned that deleterious effects of the weather phenomena cannot be avoided if actions taken by government are slow or ineffective.
CCC Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman, who briefed climate change panel about its plans and programs, disclosed that the Philippines has been “at the receiving end of the effects of climate change’ for the past several years now.
De Guzman recommended the initiation of a national policy on climate change and mitigation updated lawmakers on the cooperative action of the international community in battling the effects of climate change.
The CCC chief told lawmakers that Philippines must play an active part in international climate change negotiations to safeguard the country’s interest and help ensure support from developed countries.
Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda backed the congressional move to guarantee stricter implementation of the country’s climate change laws and policies.
IN the same committee meeting, Legarda underscored the importance of the 1.5°C long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.
The former senator explained that the 1.5°C goal is the global warming threshold that will enable vulnerable developing countries like the Philippines to survive and thrive.
In a privilege speech delivered earlier, Legarda said Congress has the responsibility to “lead our nation to a more sustainable and climate-resilient path.”
“We need to ensure that climate action is embedded in the country’s long-term development strategies. We also need to carry out immediate risk-informed and science-based adaptation interventions in the most climate vulnerable communities,” she said.
Legarda, who used to chair the Senate Committee on Climate Change, also encouraged Fiipinos to harness solar and other renewable energy to electrify homes, schools, barangay halls, and public places, which is practiced in Guiuan, Samar; and reducing wastes to zero, recycling and reusing, and refusing single-use plastics, which is practiced in Camotes Island, Cebu.
“While we already have the policies in place to enhance the adaptive capacities of our local communities, we must also address the gaps in local data and science on climate risks and hazards to guide local action,” Legarda stated.